01 June 2009

Hypocrites

So the news headline today is that one abortion doctor was gunned and killed while in church. If you check this article, a Kansas doctor was gunned down while serving as an usher in his church, due to the fact that he is one of the few doctors who perform late-term abortions in the country.

Now that is just plain hypocritical. It is also very Machiavellian. These anti-abortion advocates are against killing the unborn, but I suppose they are just fine with killing those who are alive and kicking. The end justifies the means.

I just am floored when I see politics and social dynamics here in the USA. What does one's abortion stance have to do with politics? Why does the fact that Sotomayor's abortion stance is not known disturbing and newsworthy?

I do not consider myself to be pro-life nor pro-choice. I suppose if there were a term for it, I would be pro-consequence. If you chose to have unprotected sex, and then get impregnated later, then face the consequences of taking care of the child. Life operates under a multitude of constraints. Having sex has a consequence, and that will always be in the equation. In that respect, I can see my views aligning with pro-life people.

That being said, I also believe in penalties. If a person goes on a killing spree and shoots 20 people, he should die. That is just another consequence. Again, there is a constraint: if one kills a person, then the person has to shoulder the consequences. If one is a serial killer, then why would the taxpayers shoulder his upkeep while he spend the rest of his life in prison?

Now this seems to be contradictory with the previous paragraph, no? Since after all, abortion doctors kill lives. So based on this reasoning, they should be put to death. Since we can in a certain level, equate abortion to murder.

However, if we look worldwide, murder is a crime. Every country considers that. But abortion, not really. There are places where abortion is legal. So is this decision based on the concept of sin? Or the concept of crime?

Anti-abortionists would sometimes use the argument "What if you were the one who were aborted?" But that is moot. Sure I am grateful that I am alive right now, but if I were aborted, how would I know? I would have been dead, so I would not have had the chance to feel sad or unhappy about it.

I suppose I value free will. But with free will comes consequences. Every human being has the free will to choose what he or she will do to one's body. Sometimes, there is a conflict of interest, like in the abortion debate. But this is still a debate, so choosing one over the other does not give other people the license to take the lives of others and commit a crime. I may not believe in the concept of sin, but I very much believe in the concept of crime.

Looking back on the killer and his actions, I suppose his actions still follow the constraint-satisfaction model. For him, one constraint became too powerful to ignore, and that is, he felt that he had to terminate the life of his enemy. He was just being selfish. But I suppose, he was too selfish that he forgot to put into the equation the consequences of taking the life of someone else.



(Red Object, from my National Gallery of Art Series)

9 comments:

  1. In most of the European countries abortion is not a crime so you don't get punished for it.
    Since contraceptives are widely used abortions are not so widespread anymore...

    In countries were it is unlawful the abortions are happening in secret which put also the lives of the mothers in danger.

    I guess the Catholic Church got it all wrong on all those issues... and to kill a doctor is really crazy.

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  2. I'm pro-choice and that means that if your beliefs forbids you to have an abortion, then don't. But stop harassing the doctors who perform them, the clinic staff or the patients. Gosh, it is so difficult to mind one's own business???

    Like you I find them hypocritical.

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  3. Sidney,

    I agree. It is incredulous to see that even in the 21st century, people cannot comprehend a rather straight-forward concept such as the separation of church and state. Even in the Philippines, that happens. I remember getting hold of a copy of the Family Code once, and it had a blurb about not supporting artificial birth control, because it is not 1) birth, since there is no birth that happens, and it is not 2) control, because it only promotes promiscuity. What kind of logic is that?

    Zhu,

    I know. It seems that most people want to dictate their own beliefs to others, with no understanding of personal space, both physically and mentally.

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  4. Anything that is justified as "God's will" is irrational and often hypocritical... Although I don't really understand your pro-consequence stand, isn't it covered in pro-choice philosophy?

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  5. Priyank,

    Ah yes. That issue. See, The dust hasn't settled yet with respect to this issue what my decision is. There are two things that are operating and are somehow counter to each other.

    1) I believe in action and reaction. That is, there is a price for everything that we do. It's just one of the constraints in the system. So if one chooses to do a rash decision of having unprotected sex, then one should take the consequence of getting a baby.

    2) I also believe in free will. So if one chooses to have an abortion, I don't really give a crap.

    I suppose the bottom line is that this is one of the few moments in which I am optimistic. I somehow believe that the system is still fair, and that there are penalties that will be given and consequences that will be served. However, life is most of the time unfair. So if you ask me which of the two things above will win over the other, then I think free will will trump the other. After all, people do all sorts of things even if there are stiff consequences. And sometimes they get away.

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  6. Your arguments are all acceptable but that still doesn't explain your stance.

    Pro-choice or pro-life doesn't really come into the picture until the baby has been conceived. A baby can be conceived in many ways - a sane decision, an accident (failed contraception, or forced sex). Often decisions to raise a child are made jointly but what if the male refuses to take responsibility after few weeks? Health issues (maternal health, fetal health etc) also weigh in.

    In all such cases, pro-life advocates would oppose abortion anyway. Whereas pro-choice advocates would leave the decision to the mother. Its not a black-and-white scenario. Pro-choice does not mean pro-abortion, it just means that you are not anti-abortion. Its hard to explain but I suppose you know what I am talking about. (For example, rejection of white color does not imply the acceptance of black color)

    I'm sorry if I sound forceful but I feel the need to fight any moral laws that have a stench of religion in them. There is no sitting on fence because I don't see ambiguity in this rationality. Pick a side!

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  7. Priyank,

    I agree that it is not a black and white scenario. There are many factors that weigh in, like the ones that you enumerated.

    However, my stance of constraint-based weighing-the-consequences point of view still stands. There is a glimmer in me that hopes that the human system is a fair one. However, that is just a miniscule percentage, the rest being dominated by the belief that humans are inherently selfish and curious, which results in an unfair world.

    So, if a woman is raped, and a child gets conceived, should she have an abortion? I believe it is up to her. I don't really give a crap about what she decides. After all, it is not her fault that she gets impregnated, so why would she pay for that? On the other hand, if the baby is the result of illogical life choices, again I don't give a crap whether she aborts it or not, but I'd rather see her pay for her actions. Does that make sense?

    I suppose that's how I construct my moral system. I'd like to think that it does not have a religious stench to it, it's just an application of selfishness and curiosity. I won't do things that I don't want to be done to myself. Simple as that. Add that to the constraint-satisfaction model that I operate in, and I suppose you get what I mean.

    And finally, I do not agree to your statement that there is no such thing as sitting on the fence. Of course there is, ambivalence is a perfectly valid human trait. It is just a state in which the set of constraints that are pushing for one result is neutralized by another set of constraints that are pushing for another result. Like you said, this is not a black-and-white scenario. There are grey areas, and you should expect that there are people whose viewpoints are darker or lighter than yours.

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  8. Hmm, we are repeating our arguments. :P I was talking about fence sitting in this particular case since I think that pro-life is one color (say white) while the other color (black) and all other shades of grey are in the pro-choice side. So doesn't matter what shade of gray you pic, you are not on the fence.

    Its good that you don't care what the woman does in the 'illogical life choices' scenario (its none of our business indeed) but you still want her to pay for her action somehow. And as a form of this payment, you support pro-lifers. Do I understand it right?

    Bringing another baby in the world when the mother doesn't want it a disproportionately high 'punishment' since its now affecting multiple lives instead of one, and forever. I don't even want to think how the baby, the mother, her family etc suffers during the baby's growth. How does a neglected child affect social stability when s/he becomes an adult?

    Frankly I don't need the state making (pro-life) moral laws for such punishment models. The next step in such interferetive laws is the state deciding who I should have sex with (but that's a different matter).

    If you still want to see her pay somehow, it will happen - mental and physical stress due to abortion for example. And even if the payment doesn't happen right away or in some visible form (oh she has a baby, she has paid for her decision, now lets go home), the story doesn't end there and the course of one's life changes forever. Forcing someone to make a baby is unreasonable regardless of anything.

    So that concludes my arguments in support of pro-choice. :) I won't make more efforts to pull you but I'm guessing that your fence is not in the pro-life territory anyway. hehee!

    - - -

    Its interesting that you talk about 'glimmer of hope that human system is fair', maybe you can write more about this because I am interested. The whole system of judiciary where we punish people for visible (and increasingly invisible) offences is rather interesting. The rapist goes free or gets prescribed punishment while the raped, if its a woman, faces all kinds of moral judgments in our partial society.

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  9. Priyank,

    If pro-life means that abortion is bad no matter what, then like my arguments earlier, I do not support that stance. So when I want payment, it's not that I support pro-lifers, I just want payment.

    However, you may be right, in the sense that mental and physical stress is payment enough. I suppose I am not just too involved in this issue to have a concrete stance of my own. My network hasn't learned the proper connections yet.

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